Posts Tagged ‘personal brand’

Infographic: ONE Word to Describe Your Personal Brand

Posted in Blog on June 13th, 2017 by Admin Jones – Be the first to comment

Can you boil your personal brand down to the ONE word that describes your value? I posed a similar question on LinkedIn; What ONE word do you want people to think of when they think of you? I was amazed by the responses with over 68,000 comments. I never imagined how this question would resonate with people. As a result, I created an Infographic to highlight how people position their brand in ONE word. What was somewhat surprising was the responses fit into three overarching categories; Expertise, Character and Drive. When people describe their brand, they typically identify a word that falls into one of these three categories:

Under Expertise, descriptors used include competent, talented, productive and strategic. Additional words include versatile, resourceful and adaptable. You’ll notice there is a diverse set of words in this category but they all point to what people can count on when they work with this individual, their expertise. The words in this category focus on skills and abilities, how the individual does his or her job well.

For Character words include honest, reliable, sincere and trustworthy. The responses in this category for the large part had to do with a high level of integrity or character. Character points to strong moral and ethical principles and for those that identified a word in this category, it means above all else this is how they want to be known. Don’t get caught up in thinking if you didn’t pick a word that falls into a particular category you don’t possess these qualities, e.g. high integrity. Instead, this means this is not the singular focus of how you want to be known.

And the third category, Drive highlights words such as determined, trailblazer, intense and game-changer, and yes I know this is two words. If you find you are someone who “gets things done and makes things happen” your one word points to “Drive”. Words in this category stress “movement”, taking things from one point to another point.

One Word

What is your ONE word? For some people the word immediately comes to mind. Other people tend to struggle coming up with just ONE word. I ask a similar question in my personal branding workshops and speaking engagements and with my one-on-one coaching clients. You see, this query is a great way to define your brand. This helps you figure out who you are, what you stand for and where you add value. This represents your point of differentiation. What I mean by this is what people uniquely think of when they think of you. The answer to this question helps us cut through the clutter. Instead of telling people everything you do or everything they will experience when they work with you, you are simplifying this to just ONE word that sends a clear message of your value!

My word is Impact. While this doesn’t describe what I do, it describes where I add value. In my coaching, workshops and key note speeches I seek to make an impact. What’s most important to me is that my clients gain insights and walk away with an “aha moment”, something they learned that makes an impact in their professional lives. This is how I measure success! I recently started with a new coaching client who stated he wanted to gain real-life best practices and achieve tangible results through our coaching. I explained my philosophy in one simple word, my coaching makes an impact. He was thrilled!

The process for identifying your ONE word is just as important as your actual ONE word. To do this, ensure you seek feedback from family, friends, colleagues, mentors, customers and anyone who will give you honest feedback. If you get multiple words or “themes” determine if one word stands out more than the others. In most cases you will find consistency from your feedback providers. But if not, determine what resonates with you the most or ask your feedback providers to rank the list in order of priority of what comes to mind when they think of you.

In the end, it’s not the exercise of boiling this down to ONE word, it’s about gaining clarity around your point of differentiation; who you are, what you stand for and where you add value. However, as with most things, it’s far more effective to keep it simple then to overload people with a lot of information that can take away from where you really add value. This ONE word helps to define YOU!

Happy personal branding and finding your ONE word that communicates your value!

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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Reenergize and Power-Up Your Brand

Posted in Blog on February 21st, 2017 by Admin Jones – Be the first to comment

power up your brand

Take a Personal Inventory of yourself to help identify your brand by downloading this questionnaire.

As we kick-off the new year we often times set lofty goals only for us to veer from those goals soon thereafter. I’m a big proponent of setting goals but I suggest starting the new year off right by first taking the time to reflect on what you want to be known for, i.e. your brand and how you want to leverage this brand in the coming year. Only after you have established your brand position can you set meaningful goals. The first step is to gain a deeper awareness of where you are now by reflecting on the past year and conducting a personal inventory. Some questions to consider include:

transparent-green-checkmark-smWhat were your key accomplishments?

transparent-green-checkmark-smWhere did you add value?

transparent-green-checkmark-smWhere have you made the greatest impact?

transparent-green-checkmark-smWhat are you most proud of?

transparent-green-checkmark-smHow are you perceived?

transparent-green-checkmark-smHow have you grown as a leader?

It’s important to ensure your brand is consistent and focused around your key strengths since this is where you add the greatest value. The best leaders are self-aware and they continually look for ways to leverage their strengths and close the gaps on their development areas. Once you’ve taken a personal inventory you are in a much better position to set goals which will help you remain consistent, focus on the key things that matter and narrow the gaps on your development areas.

This time to reflect can help you position or reposition your brand. If you haven’t defined your brand, now is the perfect time of year to do so. The results of your personal inventory can help you not only define your brand but help you zero in on your key areas of expertise that differentiates you! This differentiation demonstrates to your organization where you add the greatest value. Why is it consumers are willing to pay 12% more for a branded product than a non-branded product? It’s about perceived value. And those with strong brands enjoy greater success than those that don’t intentionally manage their brand due to this perceived value. A strong brand enables you to help others by leveraging your expertise and helps guide your actions and behaviors. See my blog on Tips to Power up Your Brand for additional insight into creating a powerful brand.

Once you’ve spent time thinking about how you want to be known, the next step is to think about the times where you weren’t consistent or true to your brand. What derailed you or got in the way? We all work in high stress situations which can cause us to react in the moment and lose sight of being consistent in our actions and behaviors. What are your hot buttons? What causes you to go into a reactive mode? Think about the times where you could have led with a more consistent brand. I’m not about should have, could have, would have’s but rather using this post-mortem as an opportunity to gain greater self-awareness enabling you to be focused on the areas that can derail your effectiveness.

Armed with this information you are now ready to set goals. Don’t forget to keep them SMART, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Time Bound. For the new year, ensure your brand is consistent, focused and differentiates you and your unique expertise. Reenergize and power-up your brand for greater success!

Take a Personal Inventory of yourself to help identify your brand by downloading this questionnaire.

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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What one word describes you?

Posted in Blog on February 5th, 2014 by Admin Jones – 1 Comment

What one word describes you? Not an easy question to answer. We define ourselves through a variety of words and phrases but boiling it down to one word, not as simple.

one wordIn workshops I lead on personal branding the participants explore their brand by defining how they want to be perceived. The attendees gain clarity on what they stand for and where they add value. Many have an aha moment and state how invigorated they feel through being able to communicate their brand.

This got me thinking, how I could bring this same clarity to people though social media. I put this out on a LinkedIn discussion and asked; what one word describes you? What I never expected was to get over 12,344 responses, and still counting.

While the topic of personal branding is close to my heart I never guessed how much this would resonate with so many others. This seemed to get people thinking about what’s important to them and how they want to be perceived. And people put a lot of thought into their responses. While many responded with their descriptive word, others sent an explanation of why they chose the word they chose. Many told me how this question really got them thinking and helped put things in perspective for them. And still others told me they had a hard time answering this question.

There is obviously no right answer but I thought I would share some of the responses I received. Words that you shared included; trustworthy, helpful, inspirational, caring, persistent, compassionate, genuine, honest, professional and committed. I could go on but wow, how inspiring it was reading everyone’s responses.

Other responses were words that described areas where the individual adds value such as visionary, intuitive, mentor, creative and innovative. And one responder referenced how making an impact was their guiding principle. Many people tied their one word to their values, such as having high integrity. And one comment related their word to what they would do when no one was watching.

While everyone’s word or words were unique to them they all had the same things in common. They defined the individual and were important to them. Their word conjured up the way they want to be perceived. This word also linked how individuals conduct themselves and where they add value. Ultimately it’s not as important which word you chose but rather the process through which you went through to choose your word. Each of us is unique but it’s important to have this level of clarity when you think about how you show up. This is in a sense a gut check. A way to check-in with yourself on what’s important and to ensure you are consistent in how you are perceived.

If you haven’t participated in the poll, please do so HERE. Or do this on your own as a means to reflect on your brand. I promise taking the time to do this will prove valuable for you both now and in the future. But don’t think of this as simply an exercise but rather as a means to measure what’s important to you and a barometer of whether you are truly living your brand.

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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What do you struggle most with your personal brand?

Posted in Blog on October 16th, 2013 by Admin Jones – 1 Comment

I recently conducted a poll on LinkedIn to better understand where people struggle with their personal brand. The results, while not surprising, confirmed where people need the most help. It was almost a dead heat between the top three responses, see table below.

LinkedIn Poll

How to describe my brand came in at 26%. Respondents weren’t certain how to go about describing their brand. Specifically, what words or phrases they should use.
Take Action Tip: Write down 3 – 5 words or phrases that describe you. If you’re having trouble here, think about someone you admire, what are the qualities in them you value? Are these the qualities you would like your brand to stand for? For more information, read What is Uniquely Different About You? from my blog.

Not sure what others think my brand is came in at 25%. Most people don’t know what others think of their brand. Rarely do we seek feedback. Instead we focus on working hard and don’t think about the impression we make while doing our jobs. Furthermore, we don’t explore whether our impression of ourselves is in line with the impression that others have of us.
Take Action Tip: Get feedback from at least five people on your personal brand. This will give you the valuable insight needed to make corrections, identify and close any gaps and ensure you are being consistent in everything you say and do. For more information, read The Keys to Self Awareness: Part I from my blog.

Communicating my accomplishments came in at 27%. Not surprisingly most people struggle here. Respondents weren’t comfortable promoting their achievements. It feels like bragging and most felt like the work should speak for itself. Unfortunately it’s not enough to do a good job. We need to promote ourselves so others know where we add value.
Take Action Tip: Work on your elevator speech; a short phrase that will help you communicate your value. This is something you can use in phone calls, meetings and even in emails. For more information, read Tell Me About Yourself: Developing Your Elevator Speech from my blog.

Controlling frustration and impatience came in at 8%. While this challenge scored the lowest in the poll, it’s critical to ensure your brand is consistent. Frustration or impatience are behaviors that typically derail people and can impact the perception others have of your brand.
Take Action Tip: Conduct a SWOT, Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Strengths analysis on yourself. For more information, read The Key to Self-Awareness: Part II from my blog.

Letting those know you want to be promoted came in at 13%. We think it’s bad form to ask for a promotion. However one of the key areas I’m asked to coach employees on is how to ask for what they want based on what they want to do next. A client of mine was disappointed when she was overlooked for a promotion. With encouragement she approached her boss. He stated “I didn’t know you were interested in the role, I thought you were happy doing what you are doing.” After having this conversation; she and her boss were able to develop a plan detailing her next steps with an approach on how to get there.
Take Action Tip: Put together a career plan and review with your boss, mentor and corporate champion. Consider the following: Where do you see yourself in 18 months, 3 years and 5 years? If you’re not sure, this is precisely the reason why you need to talk with your boss or others you trust in the organization and explore these options. Questions to consider include; what do I ultimately want to do? What skills are needed to get there? What obstacles stand in the way of me being successful? For further information, read It Takes Focus to Get to Where You Want to Go Next from my blog.

Now that we know where you struggle, here are some questions to ask yourself as you work toward defining your personal brand.

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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What is Uniquely Different About You?

Posted in Blog on May 1st, 2013 by Admin Jones – Be the first to comment

What is Uniquely Different About YouWhat is unique about you? How do you stand apart from the crowd? The answer to these questions will help you zero in on your point of differentiation. When I speak of differentiation, most people’s eyes glaze over.

We take our strengths for granted and just assume everyone else does what we do, to the same level of proficiency. But the reality is our unique combination of strengths is what differentiates us.

What makes you unique is what you do, when you do what you do. Say again? When you do what you do are the responsibilities or expectations of you in your job. But that’s not what I’m referring to. I’m talking about how you go about your job, or what you do when you do that job. That is, what is your approach or style when you do your job? Let’s look at this in another way. In my Power up Your Personal Brand workshops I show pictures of famous people and ask the participants to call-out the words that come to mind when they see this person. Let’s try this here. Take Abraham Lincoln. What are words or phrases that come to mind when you think of Abe Lincoln? Things I hear include; “Honest Abe”, determined, courageous, high integrity, for the people. And while I might hear “he was the 16th President”, that’s rarely the first thing people will say. These traits are what make Abe Lincoln unique from all other Presidents.

I was leading a workshop of marketing research analysts and I asked them what they thought set them apart from the other analysts. While they all do the same job, their approach or style is uniquely different. One of the analysts zeroed in on his differentiation. He told me “I’m someone who knows how to marry the research data with the business need.” He was able to understand the business levers and how to drive business results through the research he provided. He was the most in-demand analyst in his company. People requested his council over all the other analysts. That’s standing out in the crowd.

What I hope you are beginning to notice from these two examples is in a successful branding campaign, you must identify those unique qualities or traits that set you apart from the crowd. In Praise for Purple Cow, an article published in Fast Company by the author Seth Godin, he was quoted as saying; “…In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is failing. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” To Seth’s point, we tend to do our jobs, work really hard and hope people notice us. That’s the same as being invisible. But what it takes to have a solid brand is standing out in the crowd and demonstrating your unique value.

As part of my 7 Tips to Power up Your Brand, I’ve discussed gaining clarity on the traits your company places value on and matching those to your brand attributes. It’s important to ensure you are positioning yourself in at least one of these key areas, the area that is uniquely different about you. Instead of being invisible, look for opportunities to stand-up and stand-out! In an earlier step I suggested you complete a SWOT analysis. In the Opportunities section you should have listed proactive measures you can take to put your strengths to work. This could include volunteering for things. These may be things other’s may not want to do or haven’t thought to do. Let people know what your point of differentiation is and you may be surprised to find out how many people will seek you, and only you, out for this expertise.

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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It Takes Focus to Get to Where You Want to Go Next

Posted in Blog on April 22nd, 2013 by Admin Jones – 1 Comment

business people holding focus signDid you know having Focus is probably the single most important thing in achieving a solid brand? I tell all my clients, don’t try and be all things to all people, you must zero in on your brand value and focus. Solid brands focus on filling a specific need. They don’t try to be everything for everybody. Turns out, this is the hardest step in creating a strong brand. Most people can’t resist the urge to take on as much as they can. They want to demonstrate their solid work ethic, their willingness to do whatever it takes and that they can be counted on to get the job done. Someone who will get promoted, right? Well not necessarily. The hardest worker isn’t always the one who gets promoted.

To illustrate my point, one of my coaching clients had the same mindset, and as she began getting feedback on her brand she heard things like “no matter what we give her, she gets it done”. Hmm, she was positioned as the ‘get ‘er done girl’. Not exactly the brand that will get you into the boardroom or get you a seat at the table, in any room for that matter. Instead of being positioned as invaluable and someone to promote, she became the “worker bee” that supported the senior leadership team. And they wouldn’t dream of promoting her since she was seen as ‘the person who gets ‘er done around here’.

Focus entails carving out your niche and being known for the thing or things that are invaluable to your organization. If you’ve been following my seven tips for Powering Up Your Brand, you should have already created a list of your brand attributes and gotten feedback on them. The next step is to match your brand with that of your company’s. What are the three to five words you would use to describe your organization? And what attributes does your organization place value on? For example, is it someone who can build bridges by bringing people together? Or maybe it’s someone who’s not afraid to speak their mind and challenge the status quo. We just assume whoever works the hardest gets promoted, right? Well not really. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take pride in your work and put your all into it. But it takes more than just hard work to get to where you want to go next.

It’s imperative to understand what it takes to get promoted in your organization and to do that you must understand where the organization places the greatest value. Now make a list of these attributes. Do you remember the old matching game where you had to match-up the words in column A with the phrases in column B? In essence, that’s what you’ll do here. In column A list your brand attributes. In column B list your company’s values. Those things they place the greatest importance on. Now match the two columns together.

Your goal is to match your brand attributes to the values your company places importance on. It’s not until you have the road-map of what is needed in your organization that you can get to where you want to go next. And the vehicle that will help transport you there is Focus. A solid brand has Focus!

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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Achieving a Consistent Personal Brand: 5 Step Gap Analysis

Posted in Blog on March 30th, 2013 by Admin Jones – 2 Comments

jumping over gapWhat is everyone saying about you? It’s important to understand other’s perceptions of you to ensure they are consistent with the personal brand you want to be known for. Dale Carnegie said it best; “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other persons point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”

You see, it doesn’t matter what you think but rather what other people think about your brand. It’s these perceptions that can help you or hold you back from that next promotion. It’s important to know if other’s perceptions are in line with how you perceive yourself. I suggest this simple gap analysis that will provide you with valuable feedback that will help you analyze your brand perception.

Brand Gap Analysis:

1. List the top five traits that you would like to be known for. These can be words or phrases that describe you.

2. Next, identify at least three and no more than five people to get feedback on your personal brand. Suggestions include; peers, direct reports, your manager, other superiors and even customers and vendors. Whoever you chose, ensure they will be willing to provide you with candid feedback. The point is to get at least three very different perspectives which will help form a good basis of how you are perceived in your organization. One caveat, this is not a statistical study but rather a basis to understand the predominant themes and perceptions of you. You are simply looking for a small sample or a handful of people who will provide feedback.

3. Send an email to those you identified to let them know you are working on your brand and are interested in gaining their feedback. Simply ask them the following: “Please provide five words that come to mind when you think of me, words that describe my brand”.

4. Now validate the feedback you received. Did others see you the same way you see yourself? Look for the same or similar words and group them together. Were there any surprises? Were there any words mentioned that you hadn’t included on your list? Often times my clients are surprised by some of the words that others used to describe them. They say things like “I never thought anyone noticed this” or “I just do this, I don’t even think about it.” These are probably strengths you have taken for granted but should be part of your personal brand. Did you identify any gaps between how you see yourself and how others see you?

One of my clients wanted to be seen as a leader but when she received her feedback, the word “leader” was rarely listed. This surprised her but after gaining additional feedback she learned she needed to take initiative to demonstrate her leadership. With this new insight, she was able to make the necessary changes to bring her brand perception to a place that would help her achieve her goals.

5. Armed with this valuable feedback, you are ready to develop your Action Plan for changing those perceptions and closing any gaps. Only when you’ve identified these gaps can you effectively promote a consistent brand. And while you can’t necessarily control people’s perceptions, you can guide them to see you as you would like to be seen. Ask yourself the following two questions; “what perceptions do I want to change?” And “what strategies can I use to change those perceptions?” Now develop your Action Plan and transform your brand into a consistent brand!

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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Take Control, Power up Your Brand

Posted in Blog on January 28th, 2013 by Admin Jones – 1 Comment

Power up Your BrandProbably the single biggest question I get from my clients is why their hard work doesn’t pay off. We figure if we put our heads down and work as hard as we can we’ll get noticed. The problem is those in senior leadership are busy, they have a lot on their plates and what gets noticed is that the work got done, end of story. But not how you got it done. This is where branding is so vital. Follow this seven point plan to take control of and steer your career.

1. Increase Self-Awareness This is the first step in a branding campaign. Take one of the many assessments available in the market, chose one or see what your company uses. Get to know yourself, inside and out.

2. Develop a Consistent Image Everything either attracts or detracts from your brand. Your verbal and non-verbal cues, the way you dress, your attitude. Ensure your image is consistent in everything you say and do.

3. Get Feedback Understand current perception about your brand from the minds of those that work with you and interact with you on a frequent basis. Be proactive and find out how others see your brand.

4. Focus! Don’t try and be all things to all people. Good brands focus on filling a specific need. They don’t try to be everything for everybody.

5. Differentiate Yourself What is unique about you? How do you stand apart from the “crowd”? Answer these questions and zero in on your point of differentiation.

6. Develop Your Elevator Speech Whether talking to your boss or a co-worker or attending a networking function, you need to be able to communicate your brand; who you are and what you stand for.

7. Take Action Create your marketing plan. What steps will you take to close any gaps in your brand?

Follow my seven point plan to power up your brand and take control of your career!

Sage Alliance, a Leadership Performance Company, provides coaching, teambuilding and assessments, workshops and speaking on topics including; leadership development, empowering teams, communications, lasting impressions, personal branding and building a coaching culture for executives and high-potentials – for both team and individual leaders.

Contact us today to discover how your organization can get the most through improved productivity, efficiency and direct impact to your bottom line, while leaders gain powerful insight, crystallize opportunities for growth and fine tune their strengths, enabling them to make the greatest impact. You can contact Shelley Hammell directly at shammell@thesagealliance.com.

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